We’re now nicely into July, which means that pre-season training has already commenced. We’re officially on the run-in to the new football season, and in summer which is now relatively devoid of any more edge of the seat sport action (bar the ashes series), its probably time to start planning how you’re going to watch the football next season. The 2013 – 2014 season will be a first in the history of the premier league as it will represent the first time that Englands flagship division will be available to watch on a non-subscription TV channel. Well, sort of…
The catch in all of this is that you have to have BT Broadband. BT broadband infinity customers will get access to the BT sports 1 and 2 channels free of charge. We’re doping a few write-up on the BT bradband service at the moment, and when that article goes live we’ll update this one with a link. The good news in all of this si that BT is pushing their broadband service hard, and will be offering a highly competitive package even when you ignore the live sport angle.
The BT Sports 1 and 2 channels, as a reminder, will be carrying 38 live premier league games. 18 of these will be ‘first picks’, meaning that BT were able to hand-pick 18 of the best games of the season. Mouth watering derbies, top of the table head to heads and likely relegation battle deciders all fall into this category, so we’re looking at a solid line-up on the football front from BT. On top of this, BT will broadcast all 69 Aviva premiership rugby matches and 30 exclusively live Scottish premier league football matches. To all intents and purposes, they have taken over the former ESPN channel.
How to watch the premier league football for Free
The free football content will be available via a BT app and via their online player. This will also include access to the BT on-demand service, which apparantly will be similiar to the former ESPN goals app (A fantastic app which provided extensive video highlights of the goals within minutes of them going in).
This all means that you’re going to be limited to viewing the football on your smart phone or tablet (via the app) or on your PC or your mac vai the online player. Unfortunately, there are going to be subscriptuion charges if you want to get the content on your TV. That is of course unless you have a smart TV which allows you to access the internet, in which case you should be able to easily stream the live content on to your TV via the browser.
Alternatively, it is easy enough to connect your laptop to your TV via a HDMI cable. You then stream the content into the online player on your laptop, and then tune your TV to the HDMI channel in order to watch it on the bigger screen.
BT Football on your TV
If you want the full non-steamed service, then you are going to require BT TV with Infinity package. BT sport comes free with BT TV, which features over 70 digital channels and 5,500 shows on-demand. This all comes with a 7 day catch-up service and a digital box which includes Sky+ like features (pause live TV, rewind and one button recording). There are additional opportunities to upgrade further to get additional Sky channels, such as Sky Sports 1 and 2 (which will carry the remaining live premier league football games and a host of other live sport, including the ashes this summer).
One word of caution though, BT are not able to deliver Sky Sports 1 and 2 to every property. I ran a check on my place and i was not able to receive these channels, so there could be an element of postcode lottery going on.
BT TV costs an activation fee of £49 plus a month subscription. The first package is £5 per month plus £0.50 per catch-up (on-demand) show. For £12.50 per month you can get unlimited catch-up TV, so this would be the logical package if you are a regular watcher of catch-up shows. Bearing in mind that BT TV is little more than freeview with the Sky+ style box, you may find that you spend a lot of time catching up. Additionally, Sky Box office movies are available at £3.50 each.
Sky Customers: How to watch BT Football
If your currently a Sky customer – and despite the amount of press to the contrary – it still makes sense to be if you’re in it for the football, you will be able to access the BT sports chanels for an upgrade fee. The BT price for sky customers will be £12 per month plus a one-off activation fee of £15. Whilst the activation fee seems steep, you can slightly offset this by getting BT sports HD (an additional upgrade) free for one year if you bite the bullet before August 1st. The monthly fee does not start until the channels launch, which will be on the 1st August.
So there you have, the guide to watching the football for free. Some may find this disappointing, considering the need to pay to get the content on your TV. Hopefully some fo the workarounds may come in useful though.